Traveling is often looked at as expensive, or a luxury that only those who are privileged enough are able to experience. Unfortunately, in some cases, the reality is not everyone has the time or money to go on a vacation. In fact, according to USA Today, America is the only developed nation in the world that does not legally require a paid vacation day or holiday.
Ideally, everyone would love to take the time to travel, something that’s not always the reality — a real tragedy. Simply put, traveling opens our eyes to contrasting ways of life. It takes us out of our comfort zones and exposes us to vastly different people. The ability to interact with people from different upbringings and cultures opens our minds — the first step to becoming more accepting.
Photo courtesy | Volunteer Abroad UBELONG
Even though the word “travel” is often associated with going far away, one doesn’t have to travel internationally to witness a variety of lifestyles. Here, in the melting pot that is the United States, we can find diversity right outside our front doors. While there are a plethora of domestic acceptance issues, there are identical issues abroad. Crossing boarders shrinks the world — a necessity if we, as a race, strive to make a change in how we treat each other.
Metaphorically speaking, traveling creates new paths we previously would have never thought to walk down. This includes meeting new people, experiencing an unfamiliar culture and seeing the world you live in from a different perspective. These types of advantages can potentially create a more tolerable society. A society that does not allow things like hate, racism, bigotry, wealth inequality, or other flaws to plague it.
Photo courtesy | Thomas Renken
Every country in the European Union is legally required at least four workweeks of paid vacation — a law that needs to be more widespread across the globe, including here in the US. Vacation time allows one to recharge, and enjoy the fruits of hard labor. Life is far too short to be spent constantly working. Yes, a stable career and steady income are essential, and pursuing dreams are at the utmost of importance. However, it’s vital to take a step back at some point and appreciate, not only our accomplishments, but the people who have helped us reach them as well.
The main message here is that life is a short, unexpected experience and everyone should have the opportunity to maximize it. Having the time to travel and value what so many people and places have to offer is a step in the right direction, because at the end of the day, we are all just humans.
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This article was written in memory of the lives lost, and all that have been affected by the Charleston, South Carolina shooting.